Saturday, January 16, 2021

Dye, Schmick, Schoesler outline legislative priorities

| January 11, 2021 1:00 AM

Editor’s note: This is the first of three articles with our coverage area’s state legislators. Watch for the others on District 12 and District 13 in the coming days.

MOSES LAKE — District 9 state legislators plan to address issues ranging from climate change to health care during this year’s legislative session.

Rep. Mary Dye, R-Pomeroy, said she will present four bills to the Environment and Energy Committee. Dye holds the ranking seat in the committee and is also a member of the Appropriations and Capital Budget committees.

“I think we have the ability to really illustrate some new thinking in the arena of the climate,” Dye said.

Dye said there has been a lot of working intermittent renewable energy into power grids to help climate change. However, consumers are unaware of how much more they need to pay to have an extensive power supply.

“We are just asking to have some transparency on our monthly power bill so that we can know … how much additional cost to our power bill is based on how much intermittent energy is being added in as part of their power supply,” Dye said.

Rep. Joe Schmick, R-Colfax, said mental health issues are becoming more apparent. Schmick is the ranking member of the Health Care and Wellness Committee. He is also a part of the Appropriations and the Rural Development, Agriculture and Natural Resources committees.

In his district, there was a 16-year-old boy who had autism and needed assistance. The boy had to get treatment in Oklahoma because there were not enough beds at the local hospital.

“I struggle with that because I know that they would do better if they were home, or at least near their home, where the parents can be part of the solution,” Schmick said. “I don’t believe that this is an isolated case, so I’m working on that.”

Sen. Mark Schoesler, R-Ritzville, said wise use of the state’s capital budget is important to him. Schoesler will work on the capital budget as a member of the Ways and Means Committee. He is also in the Labor, Commerce and Tribal Affairs committees.

Schoesler said the budget needs to be sustainable with no new or higher taxes.

“A struggling employer community (and) working families simply can’t absorb newer, higher taxes because at the end, corporations don’t pay taxes — people do,” Schoesler said.

Dye has concerns about the idea to “tax our way out” of the economic problems COVID-19 presented in the state. Numerous locally-owned businesses are struggling to survive under Gov. Jay Inslee’s lockdown order, she said.

“We really want to avoid any more harm than what they can bear,” Dye said. “Reality is that our independently owned businesses are the drivers of our economy.”

Schmick said people in his district are concerned about Inslee’s emergency powers.

“The fact that this governor has just not felt it necessary to call a special session — I just don’t believe it’s good governance that we, as elected, have been locked out of the governor’s office,” Schmick said.

Schoesler said there has been an incredible amount of frustration with schools and Main Street businesses unable to open, so advocating for those positions is the legislators’ job.

“We’re watching small businesses wither and die at the hands of Jay Inslee,” Schoesler said.